Kelvin Parsons, MHA for the District of Burgeo & La Poile and Liberal
Opposition critic for Natural Resources, says he is heartened to hear the
Newfoundland Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) communicate a direct and
clear message to government that negotiations on Hebron- Ben Nevis ought to
NOIA held a press conference today during its 2006
annual conference which outlined the benefits of the province’s oil and gas
industry to all stakeholders, including the people of the province. It also
stressed how important it was to once again commence talks on the Hebron oil
project in an attempt to resolve the impasse between government and the oil
company and maintain the industry’s momentum.
"The premier heard a very definite and distinct message here today from
industry representatives that it is time to hammer out a solution to this
stalemate,"stated Parsons. "It is in everyone’s best interest that this
government not only leave the impression that the door is still open for
negotiations to begin again, but to actually make a move towards building a
better relationship with the companies involved so that a workable solution
can be achieved.
"NOIA is quite right when it states that the future of our province
depends on a great deal on the oil and gas industry functioning in a
full-cycle capacity, from exploration to development and to production. Once
the momentum in the industry has been allowed to lapse, it will be even more
difficult to kick start it in the future. What the premier fails to see is
that this is not just about Hebron being stalled, his stubborn stand and
lack of leadership is affecting the long-term thrust of a valuable industry
and effectively compromising the ability of our province to prosper on its
own financial legs."
The Liberal MHA says he also concurs with NOIA’s message that,
notwithstanding what is happening on the Hebron negotiations, government
must conclude a natural gas royalty regime in consultation with stakeholders
to attract further industry exploration. "Government must also abide by the
binding decision by the independent panel which selected the chairman and
CEO of the offshore petroleum board, the C-NLOPB so that it can be more
effective in its role.
"The premier has done an abysmal leadership job on the Hebron project and
today, NOIA’s message should make him realize there are voices besides his
own that he should be heeding, as his way is definitely not working."